Selling Saturdays: Scrap Metal

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This basket sits just under the basement stairs. My husband puts his coke cans  at the top of the stairs and I  haul them downstairs every time I go down to change over the laundry. I find wire baskets work best as they are easy to spray clean with the hose when needed.

Our families journey into re-selling metals began about 5 years ago when we started renovating the first of three homes.

The first home we bought required  removing lots of demolition mess and garbage out of the home. In total it took 4 very large dumpsters to empty the home of junk and construction mess.

As we were in the process of demolition we often had one dumpster filled and would have to start a pile for garbage at the top of the driveway till the full dumpster was picked up and a new one delivered.

A few times we went outside with a new load to place at the top of the driveway and would notice that several items we had placed outside earlier were missing.

Finally dying of curiosity over the case of the missing garbage, I camped out beside a window that had a great view of the garbage pile.

Pretty soon, a pick up truck came slowly down the alley and stopped in front of our home. The driver got out and started picking through the pile.

He picked out a few metal objects and then ran back to his truck and took off down the alley.

I told my husband about it later, but both of us were clueless as to why he would want it.

Driven by my curiosity I started asking others, why a person would go down back alleys taking metal out of garbage piles, and eventually I found a man who gave me the answer.

Metal recycling. The man told me he often picked up discarded  metal objects from back alleys to make a bit of money.

When we started house 2, I convinced my husband to keep all metal objects that we took out during demolition and place them in one pile inside the home. We ended up having only 2 handfuls of copper pipe, and my husband highly doubted that it was going to be worth much but he decided to indulge my curiosity of this new found way to make cash off things we no longer need.

He went into the recycling center leaving me in the truck. He came out with a huge smile on his face and more than $50 his hands. He was hooked and so was I.

We are still learning what  metal recycling centers will and will not take. For instance just a few months ago I learned that the aluminum cans my husbands cola comes in have recycling value. Now the value of these cans is not as high as copper but if you are going to visit the metal recycling center with other metals you might as well take as much as you can in one trip to insure your best return.

We have also recycled, kids broken bikes, broken down metal lawn furniture, busted metal down spouts and even our broken washing machine.

Have you ever made money recycling your no longer needed metal? Do you have any tips to add?

This Post is linked to WFMW at We Are That Family, Thrifty Thursdays at Feminine Adventures, Weekend Whatever at Not Consumed, Frugal Friday’s at Life As Mom

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  1. The first time I went I made $7 on junk I was about to throw away. It was like FREE MONEY. My husband made fun of me but agreed to put things aside as long as I wanted to take them in.

    • Victoria says:

      In our town its the men who are metal recycling crazed! I know one man who knows all the alley ways from his house to town and the metal he collects along the way goes into his “hunting fund” .

  2. I work at a scrap yard! 🙂 My family has been in the business for 40 years and all of us participate.
    Best tips!
    Separate your metal. If a magnet sticks to it set it in one pile that is worth far less than the rest. Usually only 10 cents a pound. Most appliances, bicycles, tin cans, and vehicles are made of this.
    If it does not stick to it
    Is it the color of copper? Wiring with the plastic outside should always be kept separate from copper without. If the wiring inside is thicker than a pencil lead it is also worth more. Make sure you cut off the plug in part with an old pair of scissors!
    Fixtures are usually made of brass, you can also score these at some garage sales really cheap.
    Aluminum, clean off any plastic, or steel nails before scrapping it. It will raise your price about .20 cents a pound.
    When you go to a scrap yard, look the person working the scale in the eye. & ask him what you can do to get more money out of your scrap. A good scrap yard will tell you. Most will even provide you with a stronger magnet.
    Sorry for the long paragraph! 🙂 But, there is really some money in saving your metal!

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